One of the most popular work-from-home job types is becoming a freelance contractor. There are a variety of areas from writing, to transcription, to virtual assistance, to consulting, to sales in which people provide their services as a contractor rather than an employee.
Here are a few of the most common perks and pitfalls of being a freelancer:
Many entrepreneurially minded people are transitioning to freelancing careers because they offer many benefits that an office job does not. Here are just a few:
- Although you still work closely with other people, you are technically your own boss.
- You create your own schedule.
- You choose who you work for.
- You are selling a service rather than a product.
This type of freedom is attractive to those who want to own their own business but don’t actually want to handle the responsibilities of a storefront or product inventory. It allows a person to use their experience and expertise in a specific field to attract customers who are searching for a niche service.
Different from a contracted consultant or coach, freelancers work when and where they want. They set their own hours and do most if not all of their work remotely.
As much freedom as freelancing may provide, there are several areas that cause freelancers to fail. So, if you are considering a freelancing career or struggling to make one work, make sure to assess these areas of your freelancing business.
One of the biggest mistakes freelancers make when they start out is setting their prices too low in order to get whatever clients they can to make ends meet. This makes it difficult later to raise prices without losing clients. Pricing is difficult because you are selling time and effort rather than a product that has an actual cost and profit margin.
Check out the prices of successful competing freelancers and set a price list. Stick to it. If you are confident in your quality of work, you should not be concerned about charging a fair price for what it is worth. Higher prices tend to attract higher quality clients who are serious about investing in their business.
It doesn’t matter what your prices are if you don’t have an established and secure way of getting paid. If you are starting on a site like Upwork or Freelancer, this is already handled for you, and it is very difficult for you to get scammed by a client. If not, this leads to the next area you need to consider.
A contract is incredibly important to ensure that if you and your client have a disagreement, you are legally covered. Make sure your contracts are detailed and address important areas like deadlines, communication, payment, and how either party will proceed if expectations are not met.
Hopefully you will never have to refer to a contract to settle an issue in a business deal, but this is a “better safe than sorry” type of issue. Almost always, a freelancer will lose out on time and money if there is a disagreement without a clear, written contract.
Avoid Freelancing Failure
The key to freelancing is confidence. Be confident enough to charge a fair price for your work. Be confident enough to set clear expectations in a clear contract. Be confident enough to address when your expectations are not met. If you are confident in what you produce and your ability to manage relationships with clients, freelancing can be an awesome work-from-home opportunity.